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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, November 27

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Architecture Tue Aug 12 2008

Congress to Take Action

Two projects of note in the preliminary phases for Congress Parkway:

Queen's Landing, the spot where, in 1959, the British monarch stepped off her boat on her way to Buckingham Fountain has since been closed to pedestrian access from west of Lakeshore Drive, much to the despise of Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin. The loss of access becomes especially evident every Wednesday and Saturday night when people sit on the steps of the fountain's plaza and the Navy Pier fireworks compete with racing headlights and honking traffic. However, as the article states, there is hope to reclaim this space in the name of good urban design. The plan quietly being passed around proposes another, soon to be ubiquitous, bridge in Grant Park spanning the Drive. Supported by the Grant Park Conservancy the renderings show a vast improvement over the current conditions. Instead of the broken concrete slabs that detract from the lakefront experience a new plaza, on axis to the fountain, would allow panoramic views of the lake and the skyline.

The second of two Congress Parkway-related projects is a general streetscape improvement from the post office to Buckingham Fountain. Introduced at a Grant Park Advisory Council meeting, the project would consist of upgrading all the sidewalks to the exposed aggregate type, as seen on Michigan Avenue, installing new street lighting and furniture, and installing planted medians to correspond with some minor lane realignments. However, the most interesting idea proposed was synchronized street lighting effects that would use LED's to "link" the whole parkway to its eastern terminus at the fountain. This would be especially welcome at stretches such as the one under the Chicago Stock Exchange that now are a vital link to new West Loop developments and the lakefront. Some more information can be found in this Chicago Journal article.

There is no timeline yet on either of these two projects but, like all recent urban design proposals, expect a significant amount of attention in Chicago is chosen to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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